Brass band festival goes to dogs

June 14, 2004|EMILY BURTON

Kinda fun, in a way, enthusiastic, and soggy, said young festival-goers of Saturday's celebrations. But then again, you can never describe the 15th annual Great American Brass Band Festival with words alone. It takes rain gear and participation from a slightly shorter perspective to experience Danville's allegro moment.

Shirtless tribes of pre-teen bubble-blowers danced in the afternoon deluge as event staffers scrambled to cover speakers. Babies snoozed in strollers under dripping oaks as "76 Trombones" thundered from the main stage. Tongues lulled from lopsided canine grins as the Olympia Brass Band led the throng down Main Street.

Of all the participants enchanted by the festival Saturday morning, dogs in the crowd seemed to lead the pack. They came from down the street and across the country, from the pound and purebred litters, each with a favorite tune.

James Bond marched closely behind the Olympia band with his Danville family, tail wagging overtime.


"He loves people. He loves to meet and greet everyone," said Susan Couzens of her tri-colored Spaniel. Bond's family was participating in their third festival, which they dubbed the epitome of small town Americana.

"I think we have the most fabulous small town in America, and it's wonderful that we can share it with the others," said Couzens.

Sitting amongst a packed audience around the main stage, Ginger the Cocker Spaniel kept her family company while listening to cartoon themes played by the Advocate Brass Band. It was her first year at the festival, said chaperones William, Joan and Brian Preston of Nicholasville, and she had yet to pick a favorite tune.

Jazz was the draw for Rusty the poodle

Jazz was the day's draw for nearby poodle Rusty, said his friends. "He dances with my mom when they listen to jazz," said Elizabeth Boyle of Lexington.

George W. the Dachshund was waiting to hear Twisted Sister, said owner Uncle Gary of Florida as they mingled with matching tans among the rows of umbrellas.

"I think she likes the slappers best, we like that dancing music," said Darryl Mink of Golden Lab Daisy. "Wherever we go, she goes; she loves the music," agreed Karen Mink. Despite her 10 years of age, "she still likes to party," said Darryl.

The belle of the festival sat uphill, watching with chocolate eyes as rain swept across the field. Max the Rottweiler was out Saturday as the spokesperson for her breed.

"I like to get her out and let people see her. Rottweilers get a bad wrap," said Dad Dean Nutter. But being a spokeswoman Saturday had tasty benefits.

Fair favorites like fresh-squeezed lemon shake-ups, sweet corn, pork tenderloins and the beloved elephant ears lined College Street and sent tempting smells wafting across the block.

"She's here for the food," said Nutter. "Anything in the garbage is her favorite."

As the traditional festival showers hit, Max seemed unfazed. She was joined in her apathy by audience member Tom Larimer of Cincinnati. Umbrellas popped open around him as Larimer sat in the rain with a smile.

"I don't pay attention to it. Once you get wet, it doesn't really matter," said Larimer. "And it usually passes if you just last it out."

Alex and Louise Papp lasted out their 14th festival under an electronics tent during the first of a long line of afternoon storms.

But the music was well worth the damp shoes, they agreed. The festival meant more to Danville than just good eats and socializing. Wet dogs and mud puddles not withstanding, the festival brought joy to the town.

"Its a great thing Danville is doing," said Louise. "And it lifts the peoples' spirits to see it."

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